CO Employers Hit with New Employee Leave Mandate

June 5, 2009 ( - A new Colorado law requires employers to provide nonsupervisory employees with up to 18 hours of annual unpaid leave time per academic year to participate in parent-teacher conferences and other school-related meetings.

An advisory memo from the law firm Littler Mendelson said full-time employees are entitled to up to 18 hours of unpaid leave in the academic year or up to six hours of leave in a one-month period. Part-time employees are entitled to a prorated amount of leave. The Parental Involvement in K-12 Education Act takes effect in August 2009.

According to the law firm, the law applies to employers with at least 50 employees and covers both public and private entities.

The legislation provides for time off for a defined list of academic activities:

  • parent-teacher conferences,
  • meetings related to special education services,
  • dropout prevention,
  • attendance/truancy, and
  • disciplinary issues.

Under the Parental Involvement Act, employers may require that leave be taken in no longer than three-hour increments and that employees provide written verification of the academic activity from the school. Also, employees must give notice to their employers of their need for leave at least one calendar week in advance, except in emergency situations.

Employers are allowed to turn down a request for leave when the employee’s absence would endanger a person’s health or safety or would result in a halt of service or production.

Under the Act, employees may request, or employers may require, that accrued paid leave be substituted for unpaid leave. If an employer already provides comparable leave to its employees, the employer is not required to provide employees with any additional leave, according to the memo.

The memo is available  here .